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Ep.100 The Truth About Singing and Dairy with Nutritionist Duncan Rock

    This episode is very special! It marks 100 episodes of the BAST Singing Teachers Talk podcast! We just wanted to take a second to do a massive shout-out to all of the incredible guests we’ve spoken to and also to you, our amazing listeners! To thank you for joining us, we’re running a special giveaway to win more than £1,000 worth of educational videos, knowledge, and singing teacher goodness! All you need to do to enter is take a screenshot of this episode of the podcast playing on your device, pop it on your story, and tag @basttraining. That’s it! You’re entered! We’ll be announcing winners on Instagram and Facebook so give us a cheeky follow. Competition entry ends at midnight tonight so get screenshotting!

    On to the podcast and on this milestone episode we’re joined by Duncan Rock, a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama who has an active career as an operatic baritone performing roles at many of the world’s leading opera houses. He is a nutritionist working with the likes of Vocal Health Education and The Voice Care Centre and is currently training to be a physiotherapist. 


    • Many singers avoid eating chocolate before singing because they think as it naturally contains caffeine, it will dry them out and constrict the muscles around their vocal cords. It’s also an acid reflux trigger, creates more phlegm, and coats the back of the throat giving a flatter-sounding voice. Duncan believes this is just a performative act people give as there is very little evidence that it will actually have any effect. 
    • Liquids that are emulsive, whether dairy or not, can create the feeling of thickness and can feel like they leave a sticky residue in your throat. This goes away with time and you can even just wash it off with a glass of water. 
    • Sugar has long-term effects on our health when consumed at high levels. It will not have any short-term effects on your voice. We do need to watch our sugar intake, but this is just a long-term health risk rather than a vocal one. 
    • In Duncan’s opinion, trying to manage chronic inflammation and digestive health seems to have the best overall net result for any vocal health issues around mucus and reflux. Chronic inflammation is becoming more of an issue due to stress and the amount of processed food we eat. 
    • It’s a myth that Duncan has heard at every single level of his career in classical music that if you are fit and exercise, then you can’t sing opera. Pavarotti was an amazing singer despite his weight, not because of it. 


    ‘Dairy does not create mucus, this is a myth’

    ‘You’re just as likely to experience the same thing with a soy-based drink as with dairy’

    ‘These lists of best food for singers you find online are rarely based on anything substantial’


    Guest Website:

    Social Media:

    Social Media: 

    • Instagram: @duncanrock_nutrition 

    Relevant Links & Mentions: 


    Duncan is a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London) and the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts. He has an active career as an operatic baritone performing roles at many of the world’s leading opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera, Glyndebourne, the English National Opera, Teatro Real, and the Boston Lyric Opera. As a baritone soloist, he has recorded and performed with the London Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Symphony orchestra.

    Concurrently with his performing career, Duncan works as a nutritionist and nutritional science writer. He holds a Master of Science in Nutritional Science and an advanced diploma in nutrition and weight management.

    His specialty is combining his parallel fields of study and providing nutritional information for performing artists. He is cognisant, from both an academic and personal standpoint, of the heavy demands of a busy performing schedule that often includes the demands of rigorous travel. He has been using his knowledge of diet and nutrition to propel his own career as well as help other performers attain optimal vocal and physical health.

    MMus MMperf MSc MRSPH

    Link to podcast presenter’s bios


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